If you’ve read the news, you know that Ethiopia’s Deriba Merga beat Kenya’s Daniel Rono to win the 2009 Boston Marathon earlier today. From where we sat, cheering, near the corner of Chestnut Street and Commonwealth Avenue in Newton, Merga was just starting to pull ahead of the competition.
Having started before the men, the women front-runners passed our vantage place first, with first-place winner Salina Kosgei of Kenya preserving her strength near the rear of the pack while defending women’s champion and eventual second-place winner Dire Tune and third-place winner Kara Goucher of America enjoyed an early lead.
Our vantage spot was about 18 miles into the 26-mile race, and before greeting the men and women runners, we’d already cheered a pack of wheelchair-competitors racing their way toward the uphill challenge that give Chestnut Hills its name.
South African Ernst Van Dyk won the men’s wheelchair competition, and Japan’s Wakako Tsuchida won her third straight women’s wheelchair medal. These are the names you’ll hear in news reports as having “won” the marathon, and they certainly deserve the awe and admiration of spectating fans.
From where we sat near the corner of Chestnut Street and Commonwealth Avenue in Newton, however, there were just as many cheers for the anonymous competitors far behind media-darlings who led the pack.
Who, for example, could fail to cheer for the smiling faces on Team Noah, who pushed 30-year-old Noah Zack the entire marathon in order to raise money for special needs residential programs?
Or how about Richard Whitehead, who proved once more why he is the Marathon Champ by running 26 miles on not one but two prosthetic legs.
From where I sat near the corner of Chestnut Street and Commonwealth Avenue in Newton today, everyone who ran in today’s marathon is a winner, regardless of where they finished in the race.
Click here for a photo-set of images from today’s Boston Marathon. Enjoy!